University of Sheffield's Department of Mechanical Engineering has received the prestigious Silver Athena SWAN award that celebrates their commitment to gender equality


Further Athena SWAN recognition for University of Sheffield

Further Athena SWAN recognition for University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield's Department of Mechanical Engineering has received a Silver Athena SWAN award for its efforts to promote gender equality.

“I am absolutely delighted that the Department's work has been recognised with this award. Achieving greater equality and diversity in our environment has been an important priority for us and working with the Athena SWAN Charter and applying for the award has really helped to focus our minds on this endeavour. It is fantastic to have recognition for the progress we have made so far," said Professor Neil Sims, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

Recognising commitment to gender equality in STEMM

Athena SWAN, established in 2005, honors higher education and research organisations who advance women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). More recently, it has also expanded to include arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL).

Athena SWAN institutions and departments must follow a progressive charter based on ten core principles. They must then integrate these principles within their own policies, practices, action plans and culture to promote gender equality.

Creating an inclusive environment for staff and students

Building on the Department’s previous Bronze award in 2016, the Silver award recognises a high level of activity and achievement by the Department of Mechanical Engineering in promoting gender equality and addressing challenges related to the issue.

To gain this recognition, the University of Sheffield Department was assessed against the Athena SWAN Charter to make sure that women - whether in academic, professional or support roles, or as students - were represented and that their progress into academia or in reaching career milestones was supported.

“I’m thrilled that we’ve been awarded Athena SWAN Silver as it’s acknowledgement of the energy and effort that comes from across the Department to create an inclusive environment for both staff and students," said Melanie Scannell, Athena Swan Champion and Departmental Administration Manager for the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “The award is important as it demonstrates that we are striving to create a place in which everyone can flourish and fulfil their potential, regardless of their gender or personal circumstances. This is important to our prospective students and potential collaborators, as well as our existing staff, students and research partners.”

Establishing plans to further female representation 

Receiving the Silver award doesn't mean the University of Sheffield Department will stop its efforts in promoting gender equality. The Athena SWAN Charter and its principles will keep playing an important role in the Department's planning and strategy.

A live action plan will ensure continued focus on achieving representation, progression and success for everyone. This will include plans to better female representation in undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes, as well as attracting more female research staff to the Department. The plan will also focus on creating equality of opportunity among all staff in academic, technical, administrative and research teams.

“I'm very proud of all the effort our staff have put into Athena SWAN, they have worked very hard to move us so far in such a short period of time," said Professor Patrick Fairclough, Athena SWAN Champion and Deputy Head of Department. “We still have a long way to go to get to the position we’d like to be in as there is still work to do, but I'm looking forward to the next three years; it’s going to be challenging and interesting. And that's what we signed up for.”

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